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When explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell came through the land that would become Holbrook in 1824 they named the area Friday Mount and Camden Forest. Renamed Germanton in honour of early German settlers in 1876, anti-German feelings which had permeated through Australian during World War I saw the name changed to something far more patriotic. Commander Norman Holbrook of the British Navy Submarine Corp was awarded the Victoria Cross for his brave efforts in sinking a Turkish battleship in 1914 and the residents of Germanton would adopt his surname for their town shortly afterwards. The HMAS Otway Submarine stands as a monument to Commander Holbrook and is the town’s major tourist attraction.